- Also known as
primary name: Reibey, Mary
- individual; merchant/tradesman; British; Australian; Female
- Life dates
- Mary Reibey (Mary Haydock) was born in May 1777, orphaned and raised by her grandmother in Lancashire. Arrested for trying to sell a stolen horse dressed as a boy, she was sentenced to 7 years transportation and arrived in Sydney in 1792. She married Thomas Reibey in 1794, a recent settler, and had her first child in 1976. They moved to Sydney after their growing success of profitable farming and shipping in grain, timber and coal to Sydney and the New South Wales coast. In Entally House, Mary supervised merchandising and obtained a hotel license. In 1811, Mary was left sole administrator after her husband died, as a mother of seven children with an enterprise of shipping, farming and housing. Remaining a widow, she set up a new warehouse and had ships supplying to Van Diemen’s Land, and grew to become her own successful business woman. In 1820, with enough income successfully made, she and her two daughters went to Britian, and revisited her home in Lancashire. Returning from London to Sydney, she continued building and renting property in Sydney during the colonial boom of the 1820s. In 1845, governor to the free grammar school, she turned her attention to her faith, charity and education. Reibey died in May 1855, and remains seen as one of Australia’s original capitalist, with her portrait presenting on the $20 Australian bank note from 1994 onwards.
- Margaret Steven, ‘Reibey, Mary (1777–1855)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/52429, accessed 22 Dec 2014]